(Photos by Bob Dunnell)
It’s starting to become a recurring theme for the primary travel team of Arch Rival Roller Derby (ARCH).
The local rollers will compete at the global finale of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) that starts this Friday at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Ranked seventh internationally by the WFTDA, ARCH earned placement in the Hydra Cup bracket with a third place finish in the Division 1 playoff held in Dallas, Texas in late-September.
In a Friday quarterfinal qualifier that takes place at 10 AM Eastern (9 AM Central), Arch Rival faces the London Rollergirls, who are currently ranked eighth in the world.
Arch Rival’s aforementioned bronze medal finish in Dallas marked the third straight collection of playoff hardware. Their 186-91 victory over Minnesota boosted the team’s record to 6-4 and provided upward trajectory heading into the championship weekend.
“Our Sunday game against Minnesota at Playoffs was our best game of the weekend,” reflected ARCH co-captain Bricktator. “Finishing with medals around our necks felt good. Plus, our success at Playoffs bumped us up in the WFTDA rankings, which gives us even more confidence heading into Champs.”
Making their third straight appearance at the Hydra Cup finale, a sizable amount of ARCH’s 20-skater charter that competed at last year’s WFTDA international tournament were starters in head-to-head battles against the upper echelon of global factions during the past five months.
“This season, we have played nearly every team in the top 12 in the WFTDA,” said Bricktator. “While we didn’t win them all, we continued to demonstrate that we are a team that plays high-level derby. In the past, big teams like Rose City, Angel City, and Texas would overlook Arch Rival. Now, they’re paying attention.”
St. Louis’ three-game Dallas weekend had individual scoring paced by jammer Annie Swanson’s 170 points. Also contributing numbers were veterans Bolt Action (157) and Harmony Killerbruise (154) as well as Psychokid D’ Freakout and Reptar.
The solid ARCH blocking schema, which helped the team cumulatively outscore their three opponents 634-423, was propelled by veterans Cloak N’ Drag-Her, Smarty McFly, Shear-Ra Powers, Salty, Shimmy Hoffa, Kayla Woodward, Jamheiser Bush, Krista Grant, CupQuake and Vicious VanGogo.
“The depth of our team allows us to compete with anyone, regardless of who is on the track,” said Bricktator.
Arch Rival’s Friday morning opponent also looks to use their respective bronze medal victory as motivation.
London, ranked eighth internationally by the WFTDA, earned a Champs’ bid with their third place finish at the WFTDA Division 1 playoff round held in Malmo, Sweden in early-September. The Brits’ 181-138 victory over hostesses Crime City pushed the team’s record to 6-4.
“Our teams are ranked within one position by the WFTDA, which means this will be a good game,” projected Bricktator. “Despite losing some well-known skaters, London has proven themselves worthy of Championship-level play.”
The London Brawling’s blocking schema is paced by Kid Block, Katie “Helvetica” Black, Gaz, Arocha, Onyeka Igwe and Kristen Lee.
Not only does Arch Rival look to make a push to the “Elite 8” this weekend but they also look to dish a little post-season payback on the Brits. At last year’s WFTDA Championships held in Portland, Oregon, London topped St. Louis 197-94 in the quarterfinals.
“This season has turned into our revenge tour,” said Bricktator. “Last season at Playoffs, we lost to Minnesota. This year at Playoffs, we beat Minnesota. Last season at Champs, we lost to London. This year at Champs, we will beat London.”
A free audio stream of Friday’s game is available at THIS LINK.
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